Helen Desotell

September 22, 1932
September 7, 2023

Helen M. Desotell, 90, passed away peacefully Thursday, September 7, 2023, surrounded by family. She was born September 22, 1932, to Clem and Mary (Kehoe) Barrett. After graduating from St. Joseph Academy, Helen attended Oshkosh State Teachers College and later received her Nursing Home Administrator’s License in 1970.

On August 20, 1955, she married the love of her life, Ronald J. Desotell. While Ronald served as the Deputy Chief of the Green Bay Fire Department, Helen’s career was one of tender caregiving. Caring for others was instilled in her from an early age. Helen and Ron purchased and operated Santa Maria Nursing Home and Ledge View Nursing Home for almost 50 years. She was truly a pioneer in the field of Nursing Home care and administration. Her dedicated staff lovingly referred to her as ‘Mrs. D’ and the families served commented on the quality of care she and her staff provided.

Helen’s life was defined by her strong faith in God. She supported so many entities in the community. This includes Catholic education, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Parish, the NEW Community Shelter, the YWCA Women’s Closet and Golden House Shelter. She was recognized by Wisconsin Health Care Association for her long-standing years of service in 2015, having been active in the organization as a board member and officer, as well as a financial contributor. She was a tireless volunteer and benefactor throughout the community including leadership roles as Parish Council Chair and School Board President. Helen was also a charter member of the Green Bay Shamrock Club, including Irish Dance, as she was extremely proud of her Irish heritage.

Family was a tremendous priority to Helen and she took great pride in being Nana to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She adored holidays and gathering family together. She created special memories with elegant meals, beautiful table settings and sharing laughter together as a large Irish family. Ski trips each winter, summers on Shawano Lake and time at the Door County cottage on the Bay were her favorites. Her legacy will remain on through the strong family bonds she nurtured.

Those left to celebrate her memory include four children, Ron (Nancy) Desotell, Jeff Desotell (partner, Kathryn), Tim (Kim) Desotell and Mary Ellen (Shane) Graham; grandchildren, Patrick (Angela), Pamela (Scott), Scott, Nicholas (Travis), Katie, Barrett, Molly, Brendan, Breanna (Max), Seth James, Shaina, Kaitlyn (Scott), Jared and Seth Daniel; her great-grandchildren, Edward, Theo, Arthur, Mac, Mila, Tate, Emelia and Nora; sister Theresa Held; sisters-in-law, Mary Desotell and Grace Desotell; nieces and nephews, other family, and many former employees of her nursing homes. Her children are grateful to the staff and residents at Autumn’s Promise Assisted Living where Helen had made her home for the past few years.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Ronald, an infant son Patrick, and son Gregg. She was also preceded in death by her parents, Clem and Mary Barrett, sister Jean Barrett Terry; and many in-laws as well as extended family members.

Visitation will be held from noon to 2:00 p.m. Sunday, September 10th at Proko-Wall Funeral Home, 1630 E. Mason St. and from 9:00 to 10:45 a.m. Monday at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 413 St. John St. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Monday with Rev. Brian Belongia and Rev. Paul Demuth concelebrating. Burial will be at St Joseph’s Irish Eaton Cemetery in the family plot. A memorial fund has been established at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Parish, 413 St. John Street, Green Bay, 54301.


September 10, 2023
Noon to 2:00 p.m.
Proko-Wall Funeral Home [map]
September 11, 2023
9:00 to 10:45 a.m.
St. John the Evangelist [map]
Mass of Christian Burial
September 11, 2023
11:00 a.m.
St. John the Evangelist [map]